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The purpose of this site is to engage and facilitate discussion in a remarkable African-American urban history and experience in Lexington, Kentucky. Focusing on the parks and recreational spaces of African-American communities prior to legal integration of public facilities in 1956, this site will add to an understaning of African-American park history. This site will explore how African-American communities used segregated public parks to construct multiple and uplifting identities, despite the racial oppression of the segregated US South.

While you peruse the site listen to: a douglass park radio psa and program
(.mpg layer 3 file, 2.3M, 13 minutes)

And look at the map: Migration to Douglass Park
from Surrounding Cities (pdf: 500K)

At Leisure's Edge Website - a full-length documentary exploring
segregated parks throughout Kentucky.

This site contains three sections.

narrative oral histories

The narrative will ground the presentation into recent academic debates and discuss the historical development and use of Lexington's black park system. This site aims to let the individuals who shaped and used the park system explain the importance of the parks. Sections of photographs and oral histories will offer personal histories related to the park system. These later sections are not so much documentary as exploratory, and will increase in number as the project evolves. On this point I encourage readers to make suggestions via email. For background information on this project, please refer to a brief history.

This site was developed with resources provided by:

The University of Kentucky Department of Geography and Appalachian Center
The Kentucky Oral History Commission at the Kentucky Historical Society
Lexington Fayette Urban County Government
The City Archives
of the Lexington-
Fayette Urban County Government

narrative photographs oral histories
Created: 1997-1998 - © Boyd Landerson Shearer, Jr.